Carlisle man wins workers compensation benefits despite prior injury

Recently, I have done several posts on pre-existing conditions and work injuries.  I’ve done so because pre-existing conditions are a common thread in many workers compensation denials.  However, again, the fact a pre-existing condition exists IS NOT a bar to workers compensation benefits when an injury occurs on the job.

I recently won workers compensation benefits for a Carlisle area truck driver.  My client was injured while loading product on a truck.  He injured his shoulder.  His employer and the workers compensation insurance carrier denied him benefits because he had a previous shoulder injury at another job that resulted in a partial shoulder replacement.  In fact, he had just settled his first work injury claim five months prior to this injury.

We were able to convince the Workers Compensation Judge that he fully recovered from his prior injury, that he had moved on to a new job and had experienced no shoulder problems, and that the new injury, changed the condition of his shoulder which caused him to be unable to work.  Eventually, he had his partial shoulder replacement converted to a total shoulder replacement.   By winning his case and having his claim petition granted, my client will and has received wage loss benefits back to the date of injury and ongoing, and that his medical bills, including the cost of the total shoulder replacement surgery, are to be paid by the workers compensation insurance carrier.

The important point here is this — if you have a pre-existing condition, if you had a prior injury — and you experience a new work injury which is then denied, you can fight and win benefits.  Call Mooney & Associates today for a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your case.  We have 16 offices scattered throughout Central Pennsylvania, for your convenience.  Call us at 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656.

 

Warehouse growth expected to continue growing in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Carlisle

Growth in warehouse development and subsequent jobs that follow are expected to continue to grow in the Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Carlisle areas of South Central Pennsylvania, in 2018.   It is kind of obvious given the continued development underway.

Looking at Shippensburg, you can see warehouse development currently underway off Interstate 81 Exit 24.  There is expected to be an additional warehouse to be built after the one behind the new Sheetz Store is completed.  The warehouses being developed off Exit 24 are considered to be Spec Warehouses.    Specifically, Spec Warehouses are built to be leased out, meaning, it is not being built for a specific company, such as Procter & Gamble on the Olde Scotland Road or Georgia Pacific off Exit 29 in Shippensburg.  Additionally, there is expected to be continues development off Exit 29 in Cumberland County by the Beistle Company and Georgia Pacific locations.

Just a bit North on Interstate 81. you will witness an ongoing boom in warehouse construction in Carlisle.  Many of these huge warehouses that are being erected are again, Spec Warehouses, being developed to lease.  Currently, you can see warehouse development continuing to boom off Exit 44, the Allen Street exit.  This all goes along with the booming construction in Chambersburg off Interstate 81.  The booming distribution economy along the Interstate 81 corridor is causing low unemployment rates in Franklin and Cumberland Counties.  Many of these jobs are either temporary employment or temporary to start before being hired on full-time by employers.

Warehouses jobs, such as order selectors, fork lift drivers, loaders, and more, are at risk for work injuries.  You can view the actual phamplet from OSHA on the most common injuries int he warehousing industry.   I also published an article here on the most common warehouse injuries that walk into my office.

Here are a few pointers for injured warehouse employees.

First, know who your employer really is.  Let me explain.  If you work at Procter & Gamble in Shippensburg and are specifically hired by a temporary agency, your employer for workers compensation purposes, is the actual temporary agency you work for, NOT Procter & Gamble.   It is important to identify the proper employer in a workers compensation case.

Second, notice of injury is critical.  Always remember to report your injury immediately to a supervisor.  If you work for a temporary agency, you must also report the injury to the agency, not just a floor supervisor.  Failure to report an injury right away almost always leads to a denial of your claim.

Third, be careful what you sign.  Employers tend to put a ton of paperwork in front of an injured worker.  Before signing it, make sure you understand exactly what you are signing and what is means to your rights.  Call us right away if you have question on what you are signing.  We always offer FREE consultations for worker injuries.

Fourth, seek immediate medical treatment.  Sometimes, I hear stories of injured workers who just try and ‘grunt’ through pain. They think the injury will just go away.  Then it doesn’t.  That lack of medical treatment in the beginning can trigger a denial of your claim as well.  Second, ‘grunting’ through an injury can worsen an injury.  Sometimes we see that in partial rotator cuff tears that end up being full thick tears.  There is a substantial difference in terms of need for surgery and recovery.   Don’t risk it.  Get checked out.

Fifth, ask your employer if they have a panel list of medical providers.  They are required to in order for the 90 day panel provisions to be in effect.  Second, if they do have a list, you are FREE to treat with any provider on that list.  Your employer can’t dictate which one you treat with.

Finally, ask your employer for a work injury incident report.  Keep notes on employer responses.

Workers Compensation is a complex area of law.   If you are hurt at work, call Mooney & Associates right away for a FREE consultation with me.  Your rights and benefits under the Workers Compensation Act are too valuable to risk.  At Mooney & Associates, I have litigated hundreds of cases.  I have deposed tons of doctors.  I have recovered millions of dollars for injured workers.  I stand ready to fight and protect your benefits.  Call today at 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656.    If you prefer, you can also email me right here through this site.  We have offices throughout Franklin, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties In Pennsylvania.  I will meet you at the office most convenient for you.

 

Amazon employee killed in accident at Amazon Warehouse in Carlisle

An Amazon Warehouse employee was killed in a work accident recently.

The is the second death at the Middletown/Carlisle facility since 2014.  If you recall, an employee was killed in 2014 in a pallet jack accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a death at an area Amazon facility.

Devan Michael Shoemaker, 28, of Millerstown, died Tuesday of multiple traumatic injuries at the Amazon warehouse on Allen Road in South Middleton Township.

Cumberland County Coroner Charles Hall confirmed Shoemaker died after the 5:15 p.m. accident in which he was run over while helping the driver of a truck tractor hook up a trailer.

Amazon had already been warned and fined by OSHA in 2016 at it’s New Jersey facility for failure to address workplace safety concerns.  I’ve written in this issue time and time again.  Big conglomerates like Amazon consistently skirt safety issues for lower operating costs, while the employees are the ones to suffer, often from devastating work injuries, and in this case, even death.

I have represented many injured workers at Amazon in Carlisle.  With Central Pennsylvania’s warehouse growth in full swing, more and more warehouse type injuries are occurring.  Check out my previous article on common warehouse injuries.

If you work at one of the many warehouse or distribution center in Central Pennsylvania and have sustained a work injury, don’t hesitate to call Mooney & Associates to protect your right and benefits you may be entitled to under the Workers Compensation Act.  Places of employment like this often try and intimidate injured employees, downplay injuries, deny injuries, terminate employment when injured, or have injured workers sign forms quickly.   Get represented!  Call Mooney & Associates for a FREE CONSULTATION AT 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656.

Understaffing at Pennsylvania Nursing Homes cause work injuries

back-work-injuryWe have seen the various reports from time to time on the overall impact of understaffing at Pennsylvania Nursing Homes.  In this report of 18 of Pennsylvania’s most understaffed nursing care facilities, ten of the eighteen are owned and operated by Manor Care, and three of the 18 are right here in the mid-state, in Chambersburg, Carlisle, and New Bloomfield in Perry County.  These reports generally focus around the sub-standard care is causes to the patients who reside or are being cared for in the facilities.  Rightfully so.

The untold stories of understaffing in these care facilities is the risk it puts on nursing home employees.  I get my fair share of injured nursing home employees.  Many times, understaffing is the culprit of these injuries.  Most common are lifting injuries.  These injuries usually occur when lifting patients.  They can occur due to lack of lifting equipment and understaffing.  Frequently we see back, neck, and shoulder injuries when it comes to lifting residents.   These injuries also occur due to lack of or sped up training due to understaffing.  It isn’t just sped up training though, many time it can be faulted to poor training programs.

We also see CNAs and LPNs injured by violent acts of residents.  Again, many times it is due to understaffing for patients with medical conditions that cause either violent tendencies or inability to understand or control reaction.  Fortunately, health care employees are speaking up regarding violence in health care facilities and demanding protections.  OSHA is considering new workplace violence standards.

We also see injuries occur due to lack of staffing because of employee fatigue.  Patient care is not easy.  It can be quite taxing.

Health care can be a quite rewarding career field.  Unfortunately, it is also a dangerous field, as health related work injuries now rank as high as construction work injuries.   The focus of understaffing at nursing homes should turn to patient care and employee safety.   For more information on workers safety in nursing homes, visit the OSHA website here.

Meanwhile, if you work in a nursing home in Pennsylvania and you have been hurt at work, protect your rights and potential entitlement to benefits.  Too many injured CNAs stay silent out of fear of their employer.  You don’t need to do that. Contact Mooney & Associates today for a FREE CONSULTATION.  Let us help protect you!  Call today at 717-200-HURT.

 

Happy Labor Day Pennsylvania!

One thing I have learned through my years of dedicating my practice to representing injured workers is the fact we have a strong labor work ethic in Pennsylvania.  I see it everyday.

Happy-Labor-Day-Greeting

The misnomer out there is that injured workers want to just sit on workers compensation benefits.  That is just not accurate.  Many injured workers that I represent want to get back to work quickly, even before they are healed.  Many are losing precious dollars each week, many are long time employees of companies they enjoy working for, and others feel worthless just sitting at home, while they heal from their work injuries.  These are not people trying to live off a benefit they deserve.  These folks do not go to work asking to be injured.

Robust Economy in Central Pennsylvania

In Central Pennsylvania, we have a robust economy.  Cumberland County is expected to become the fastest growing county in the Commonwealth.  From a strong housing market, to a positive tax environment, to a robust work ethic, the Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, Silver Spring Township, Hampden Township areas, and even south to Shippensburg, are bustling with economic development.  Even across the county border to Franklin County, just look at the growth in Chambersburg.  Distribution Centers and manufacturing are popping up all along Interstate 81 corridor.  Shippensburg is set to see more growth off Interstate 81, Exit 24.  One thing these companies have cited is a strong work ethic.  That is something to be proud of.  Companies do not locate to areas where they do not believe they can gain a strong work force.

So on this Labor Day, we should take pride in our communities that we live in and be thankful we are seeing growth and advancement, not decay and depreciation.  Pennsylvania is not a growing state, population wise, but the area we live in, well, the story is quite different.  Take pride in our communities and who we are as Central Pennsylvanians.  We work well, we work hard, and we produce.

Treating injured employees with respect

Hopefully, as we continue to see companies locate into Cumberland, Franklin, and Adams counties, we will see companies become good stewards.  Part of that is treating employees with respect and taking care of them when they are hurt.  Work injuries happen.  It is a fact.  Many people get hurt working around the home.  But, at work, there is heavy lifting, there are fork lift accidents, there is such a thing as repetitive stress and trauma, there are slip and falls, there are certified nursing assistant who get injured helping patients, and there are auto accidents.  The key is how we respond to such injuries.  Companies need to do a better job at restructuring or revising processes to avoid work injuries.  They need to constantly evaluate work injuries and make changes to head off injuries before they occur.  They need to put employee safety as a core company value.  Without employees, companies do not exist.  Without a healthy work force, profits dwindle.  It’s called good stewardship and it needs to become a core principle.  Companies need to stop with the suspicions, stop the blaming, and stop putting up impediments to treatment for injuries, and instead, focus on getting injured workers well and compensating them fairly for life altering injuries.  Continue reading

Harrisburg Social Security Disability Office has long hearing wait, adds new Judges

I hear from every client their disbelief of the wait time to receive a hearing on their Social Security Disability appeal.  It is frightening for folks who have no income or limited income and can’t function normally or work. However, it is also a reality.  And, it is not just the Harrisburg Office of Adjudication and Review, which handles Social Security Disability appeals, that has the backlog wait time.  It is a national problem.

Mooney & Associates representing social security clients

Mooney & Associates representing social security clients

Here are the current numbers. (As of July 2016)

HEARING LOCATION HEARING WAIT TIME
Elkins Park, PA 20.0 Months
Harrisburg 19.3 Months
Johnstown 19 Months
Philadelphia 20.5 Months
Philadelphia East 20 Months
Pittsburgh 21 Months
Seven Field, PA 18 Months
Wilkes Barre 16.5 Months
Pennsylvania State Average 19.3 Months
Baltimore, MD 21 Months
NHC Baltimore 19 Months
Maryland State Average 20 Months

As you can see, the Harrisburg ODAR office is trending right near the Pennsylvania state average, but above the National average.  There may be some relief in sight though.  Harrisburg has recently added three new Administrative Law Judges, which should help reduce the wait time to around the National average.  Bottom line is, even with new ALJ’s on the way, if you have been denied Social Security Disability and you appeal, you SHOULD NOT expect to have a hearing for at least 16 months. Continue reading

Now representing Federal Employees in Federal Workers Compensation

Attorney Mark A. Buterbaugh, who currently manages and handles all of the firm’s Workers’ Compensation cases, has begun representing injured Federal Government employees, in Federal Workers Compensation. Attorney Buterbaugh will work aggressively to fight for and protect benefits that Federal employees are entitled to under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA).

Currently, there are only limited amount of attorneys who handle Federal Workers Compensation claims nationally, let alone in Pennsylvania.  Most civilian federal employees in all three branches of the Federal government are covered under the Act, unless covered by Special Legislation or non-appropriated funds. In our area, that may include employees of the US Postal Service, Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, civilian employees at the Letterkenny Army Depot, Carlisle War Barracks, New Cumberland Depot, Mechanicsburg Navy Base, and more. Continue reading

Proving Federal Workers Compensation claim

Federal government employees have a unique workers compensation system, rather than the typical state workers compensation system that covers all other injured workers.   The Federal Workers Compensation systems cover most civilian employees of the Federal Government.  The program is administered by the Office of Workers Compensation programs (OWCP) in the US Department of Labor & Industry.  It’s rules and procedures are unique and at times substantially differ from Pennsylvania’s workers compensation system.

If you are an injured federal employee, such as a US Postal employee, an employee of a VA Medical facility, a civilian employee at one of our several military installations in Central Pennsylvania (Letterkenny, Carlisle War College, Mechanicsburg Naval Yard, etc…), a TSA employee at Harrisburg airport, an employee of the Social Security offices in the Central Pennsylvania area, etc… then you are likely covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) and therefore fall under Federal Workers Compensation. Continue reading

The Six Common Warehouse Work Injuries We See

South Central Pennsylvania is one of the fastest booming areas in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, especially in warehouses.  In fact, several of the counties that we serve are listed among the Top 15 in Pennsylvania for population growth from 2010 to 2014.  Those counties are:  Cumberland (1st), Lancaster (4th), Franklin (6th), and Dauphin (15th).  That leads to jobs, but also to common warehouse injuries.

Warehouse Injury

Common warehouse injuries in Pennsylvania

Warehousing Growth in Central Pennsylvania

A large part of the growth that has occurred in Central Pennsylvania can be directly attributed to the warehousing and manufacturing development along the interstate 81 Corridor, from Greencastle, PA up through Dauphin County.  We’ve seen a recent boom, such as the development of Food Lion Distribution and World Kitchen in Greencastle, Chambersburg area warehouse development,  which includes, Target, Ulta, K Mart, and Staples, new warehouses in Shippensburg, which includes, Procter & Gamble and Georgia Pacific, newer warehouses in Carlisle, which includes, Giant Foods, Ross Distribution, AMES distribution, Office Depot, Ryder, Amazon,  OHL, and Lindt Chocolate.  Those are just a few. These warehouse operations employ many people through South Central Pennsylvania.  Additionally, there is more warehousing growth set for Carlisle (Exit 44 off I-81) and Shippensburg (Exit 24 and 29 off I-81).    Continue reading

Franklin County PA booming with jobs

Franklin County, Pennsylvania has a booming economy.  The article from WHTM states the economy in Franklin County has added 1200 jobs in 12 months.

ABC27 News reported in the past how Cumberland County is the fastest growing county in the state. Franklin County is also seeing increased numbers and is sixth on the list.

You can see it with the construction along the Interstate 81 Corridor.  A new warehouse  facility is under construction in Cumberland County off the Exit 44 right near Carlisle.  In Franklin County, as we reported here, Atlas CopCo is adding 50 manufacturing jobs to Western Franklin County with a new facility near Fort Loudon.  That facility is under construction.  Development is occurring off Exit 24 in Shippensburg.  First was Procter & Gamble in Shippensburg with huge warehouse, but more development is under consideration.  A manufacturing facility is considering a site off Exit 24 with a possibility of two additional distribution centers off that exit being considered.

It’s a continued growth model in the area.

“We know we’re well positioned for growth,” said Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation. “Four states, four counties, 40 miles. There’s a lot going on in the 81 corridor that is impacting our growth.”

In fact, 500 to 1,000 more jobs are expected to come to Franklin County this year.

“Success begets success,” Ross said.

More importantly, the job growth and development is having an impact in other sectors.

Ross said the manufacturing jobs are where most of the new jobs are, and those are attracting restaurants and shops to the area as well.

We’ve been seeing that off Exit 17 with the continued development of the newer Exit there.   That area has just added Chick Fila, a new Starbuck location, Five Guys, and more to come.